From Walsall to Kyrgyzstan...
An international journey to a country that most wouldn’t even know existed. But in between Russia and China, a small ex-Soviet Union country called Kyrgyzstan was the destination.
The flight was long but with no complications and I was thankful it was only 11 hours all together with an hour and a half lay over in Istanbul. I was the first to arrive 12 hours before the team. I managed to get little sleep on the plane and watched the first season of Billions.
Once I arrived I thought I would try and get some sleep but it felt like my body had forgotten how to sleep, so I headed down to the gym for a stretch and small run to get the flight out of my legs. I then wandered down to the pool, the weather was perfect but I didn’t bring myself to go for a swim. After staying by the pool for an hour I headed in for lunch and then up to my room for finally a small sleep.
The team arrived at around 8:30pm, it was great to see everyone again and catch up. Dinner followed shortly after they arrived and after we had eaten, the head coach along with the new goalkeeping coach pulled me aside to catch up and meet my new national team goalkeeping coach properly for the first time. The head coach left and myself and the goalkeeping coach got to know each other a little better, watching some of the drills he does with his goalkeepers and he also showed me some of the clips he had of me playing for Walsall and the national team previously. After the meeting it was time for sleep, I was ready to put head to the pillow and have a good night’s sleep after my lack of rest on the plane.
Monday morning, the day before the game, and the coach called a small training session in the morning to get the flight out of the players’ legs and just get the blood flowing. The goalkeepers did some head tennis and some two touch just to get a feel for the ball.
After lunch we had a meeting to discuss the game plan and what we were going to do at the stadium for our second session in the evening. As usual it was an afternoon nap as the majority of your time on internationals is spent between four walls with a bed in it.
We headed to training at 6pm and did a short hour session because that’s all we were allowed to do on the field before a game. We went through some patterns of play and ended with some crossing and finishing.
Back to the hotel and before we knew it, it was 9pm a quick bite to eat and back to our rooms for a long sleep the night before the game.